Easter bonnets, chicken suits and rabbit ears mingled with thousands of children hyped-up on chocolate at the Toronto Beaches Lions Easter Parade on Sunday.
About 40,000 lined Queen St., E. for the 52nd annual parade and many where there hours before the 2 p.m. start to get the best seats.
Most of those with front row seats were in lawn chairs with blankets to fend themselves from the sunny cold.
This year’s Grand Marshall was 2018 Winter Olympic gold figure skater medalist Gabrielle Daleman, who was accompanied by her grandfather, Ron Raby, with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 22 in Woodbridge.
“It’s so much fun being the Grand Marshall, especially because I get to experience it with my grandfather,” Daleman said.
“I wouldn’t be here without my parents. I love all the support I have been given and that I can inspire the kids.”
Daleman was in the parade with 70 floats, 10 marching bands, dozens of sports and community groups, fire trucks and police cars.
The TTC, as usual, had its 1923 historic street car Peter Witt in the parade.
And of course, the Easter Bunny was there.
Clowns and others handed out tens of thousands of chocolate Easter eggs along the route.
Sharron Ramsdem, a parade organizer, has been involved in the parade for more than a decade and says her favorite part is the kids.
“It’s such a wonderful way to give back to the community,” she Ramsdem, adding the parade wants to thank the spectators who donate a loonie or toonie along the route.
“Any money left over (from the parade) goes back into the community for things like scholarships,” she said.
Guide dogs with the Lion’s Foundation are always a favorite in the parade and this year was eight-week-old Cynder’s first appearance.
Missy Westgate has been volunteering with the foundation for 18 years and raised 37 guide puppies.
“It’s so much fun to see everyone dressed up and it’s such a good experience to have the puppies out with the kids,” Westgate said.
Prior to the parade, Cynder had some snuggle time with three-year-old Peyton Palermo, who was also in the parade for the first time with her soccer team.
“(Peyton) loves the Easter Bunny part of the parade, and I couldn’t get her to sleep the night before,” mom Laura Farrow said.
“I’m excited for her, to see her waving and see her facial expressions.”
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies